Amanda Ma, Class of 2023
Amanda interned at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and conducted research for a self-guided exhibition called Lost in Translation. The exhibit explores the history of Orientalism, Egyptomania, and other forms of exoticism during the turn of the twentieth century.
Amanda's internship helped her to explore career options as a history major and gave her a window into the public history field, which she found intriguing. "I recommend this experience to others because there are many opportunities to learn about your specific historical interests."
I interned at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (The MAC). She conducted research for a self-guided exhibition called Lost in Translation. Lost in Translation explores the history of Orientalism, Egyptomania, and other forms of exoticism during the turn of the twentieth century. Located in the Campbell House, a historic home on the MAC campus, the exhibition guides visitors through the origins of eclectic imported influences and objects in the home's design. I was also a docent in the house after the research was completed.
What motivated you to want to do an internship?
I was motivated to do this internship because I was curious about how museum exhibitions are created. More specifically, I was exploring career options as a history major and was intrigued by the public history field. As a Spokane native, I was incentivized by my curiosity about my hometown’s history and how I could include myself in its future narrative.
How did you find your internship opportunity, and when did you start looking for it?
I found this internship opportunity through an email sent by the History department chair during my junior year. I began looking for internships my sophomore year, but the MAC opportunity seemed the most interesting to me.
How did your internship experience turn out?
My experience at the MAC was very eye-opening and exciting because I did not expect to tell my hometown’s history in such a unique way. The museum educators allowed me to combine my love for non-western history and design to curate a personalized exhibition.
What surprised you about this experience? Any challenges? What did you gain from this experience?
What surprised me about this experience was how much autonomy I had when conducting research. I researched and created a story encompassing that I believed to be important in the Campbell House’s history. I also learned that I am passionate about Asian history and how to conduct accurate histories without ideal sources. The internship was everything and more than what I expected. This internship taught me how to work efficiently with other experts and professionals. More importantly, I learned how to expand my knowledge through self-guided research and to motivate myself under stressful conditions. Time was a challenge for me because interns were only given one summer to research and professionally present their projects.
Would you recommend the experience to others, and why or why not?
I recommend this experience to others because there are many opportunities to learn about your specific historical interests. Additionally, if education/teaching is not a field you see yourself in, I recommend getting some experience in a museum to explore your passions and talents. This experience has taught me about my academic/professional interests and my personal life which cannot be gained anywhere else.
Bridget Wilson, Class of 2024
Bridget interned at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle as a part of their Education Team performing a variety of tasks ranging from collecting data about field trip groups to helping with the advertising of a new graphic novel.
Bridget's internship gave her hands on experience, helped her learn a lot about an industry which she wasn’t familiar with, and helped her gain a new appreciation for museums and their complicated operations.
Bridget Wilson from Sammamish, WA is a history major at Gonzaga University. During the summer of 2022 she furthered her studies in the field when she worked as an intern at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle. Drawn to history through her love of museums, Bridget saw this internship as an opportunity to not only fulfill the internship requirement that is necessary for history majors, but as a chance to gain hands-on experience and learn more about herself and the different career paths a history degree has to offer.
During a one credit weekend course taught by Paul Regelbrugge, the Director of Education at the Center, Bridget was immediately drawn to the passion Mr. Regelbrugge displayed when talking about the Center. Bridget went through the application process to intern at the Center during the summer, and accepted the position during spring break in March 2022.
Bridget reports there were many things she learned during her experience. Originally assuming that most of the behind-the-scenes work related to the exhibits and their artifacts, she quickly learned this was only a small fraction of that which was tasked. During the tenure of her internship, Bridget was part of the Education Team and worked on a variety of tasks ranging from collecting data about field trip groups to helping with the advertising of a new graphic novel. That the internship entailed more outreach work than she expected, Bridget says that her outreach work is what truly made her feel like she was making a difference.
Takeaways of her internship experience include learning that museums are a lot more complicated than one may realize. She says she learned that “it takes more than historians to run a museum – there need to be people also dedicated to event planning, fundraising for the future, and networking with other individuals and organizations to build relationships that benefit the Center and community.” Overall, Bridget says this was a great way to acquire new skills needed for the job. In the end, she says the internship helped her learn a lot about an industry which she wasn’t familiar with and helped her gain a new appreciation for museums. She says she learned a lot about herself as a professional and where specifically her interests lay.
Past Internship Experiences
Cora Kim is a senior history, philosophy, and French triple major. In the Fall of 2019, she completed an exhibit for Foley’s Rare Book Room titled “Lyon and the Jesuits, as Told by their Books.” This exhibit organized Foley’s assemblage of Jesuit books published in Lyon between 1450 and 1700. The Catholic Reformation was a vibrant period of printing in which books transitioned from large, vellum-based Latin tomes resembling handwritten manuscripts to gradually become smaller, cheaper publications for a broader vernacular readership. Cora’s exhibit tracked these changes and explored how the history of a period can be intimately tied to its material culture.
Cora is fluent in French and used her language skills to coordinate with a French archivist in Lyon to add photographs to her exhibit. The internship provided her substantial freedom to create any project involving Foley’s book collection that she wished, and she is grateful for the experience of managing and completing a project of her own design. She also learned a lot about early modern France and the methods of archivists in preserving historic books. Cora intends to teach English for a year in France and eventually become a lawyer.
Kenzy Franco is a senior history major with a minor in art history. Her main historical interest is the position of minorities in United States history, and this passion led her to pursue an internship with the university archives during her junior year. Kenzy analyzed documents from a special collection relating to local Spokanite historian Jerome Peltier, who died in 2004. Peltier was an enormous authority on the history of Spokane, writing fifteen books over his career and founding various local museums and historical institutions. He, like Kenzy, was largely focused on the stories of minorities (particularly Native Americans). Foley’s archives contain many records of interviews and maps he produced working with the Couer d’Alene tribe. Kenzy categorized these documents and synthesized them into an online presentation. Her internship also involved creating an online exhibit showcasing Gonzaga’s copy of the St. John’s Bible (the world’s first modern rendition of a medieval illuminated Bible with select few copies spread throughout the world).
These internships trained her in exhibit design and the technical skills of curating and processing collections. Working with the St. John’s Bible also brought her to apply knowledge from her art history courses. Kenzy intends to take these skills with her as she pursues a career in museum studies, either to work in history museums or art galleries.
Lizzie Velonza is a senior history major with a minor in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. She has been involved with two history internships at Gonzaga. Her first, an internship with Foley Library, created a physical and online exhibit titled “Patriotism, the Pacific Northwest, and the Ku Klux Klan.” Lizzie investigated the recruitment methods of the local Klan and argued that their efforts largely relied on appeals to extreme patriotism. The experience taught her about Spokane’s dark history of race relations and equipped her with valuable strategic and research skills.
Lizzie’s second internship is in progress through Digital Humanities and involves supplying content for an app that enables physical thematic tours of Gonzaga’s campus using only a smartphone. Her tour will be comprised of spots related to Gonzaga’s history of race relations and draw attention to ways that the university of the past failed to meet student needs, capitulating only under organized demonstration from students. Lizzie hopes for her tour to empower the Gonzaga community to further its commitment to social justice. She has found substantial growth in her research skills through this project, as it has led her to conduct four interviews and investigate how monuments and places intertwine with multifaceted stories of the past. Lizzie intends to use these research skills as she continues exploring a career in the law.
Mary Cate Babcock is a senior history major with a minor in public relations. Her interest in museum studies drew her into three history-related internships. In Spring of 2020 she worked with Dr. Goldman in researching several artifacts for the Pompeii exhibit at the MAC. Mary Cate produced a report on these artifacts, but COVID unfortunately cut short further engagement with that exhibit. Later that year, Mary Cate worked to produce panels for an exhibit in the Crosby House called "A Christmas Classic" together with Dr. Rast, whose class on Public History she had just taken that Spring. She wrote a research paper for that course on Bing Crosby’s famous song “ White Christmas” and argued that it marked a turning point in American attitudes towards Christmas from being primarily a religious holiday to a secular part of American culture. This paper turned into her proposal for an exhibit in the Crosby House.
This past Summer of 2021, Mary Cate took on an internship beyond Gonzaga’s history department, this time directly through the MAC. It included a variety of projects from working on their “Maker’s Space” exhibit to giving tours of Spokane’s early twentieth-century “Campbell House” and producing an eight-page document that will supply content for future exhibits there. Mary Cate appreciates these opportunities allowing her to take research skills from the classroom and apply them to make history relevant to the public. With these hands-on experiences in handling tours, artifacts, and the management of collections, Mary Cate believes her internships will invaluably contribute to her future career in museum studies.